Author’s Note: This comes from a story I don’t know that I’ll ever finish because it has severe plot issues, but there was one exchange in this section that I particularly like, and after rereading it and reading Liana Mir’s “The Perfect Woman,” I just had to post it.
“Has he asked you out yet?”
Jane looked up from the computer. “Has who what?”
Wilder snorted, shaking her head. “Has the three piece suit with the labrador asked you on a date yet? And don’t try and pretend you didn’t hear me this time. I know you know who I’m talking about. Today’s your last day here, so if you haven’t gotten asked yet, you’d better ask him.”
Jane shook her head. “It’s not like that. Not at all. And it’s not going to happen, so just drop it.”
“You flirt up a storm when he’s here. Are you going to tell me he’s married? I didn’t see a ring. And I don’t think he’s gay, either. I’m pretty good at knowing which side of the fence they’re on. I’ve had enough men with dogs pass through here to get good at spotting the difference,” Wilder leaned against the desk. “I also think he’s very interested in you, so why are you holding back?”
Jane wondered what Wilder would think of the very… unique way that she and Chance met, but she also didn’t feel like sharing it. She had enough people afraid she had a stalker, and she didn’t need another one.
“I’m not ready to get involved with anyone at the moment,” Jane began, using a partial truth instead of the whole sordid story. “I don’t have a steady job, I’m living on my parents’ couch—I need to get my life in order before I think about dating.”
“Wasn’t one of your other options marrying a rich man? Why not that one?”
“Because marrying a rich man is—that was a joke. I don’t actually think that’s a real solution to my problems, and I already know that my family and friends wouldn’t approve of him, so it is just not going to happen.”
“They have a thing against his accent? That is a real shame. He seems very nice, and he’s been trying very hard with that dog. It’s sweet to see him try.”
Jane knew that. She definitely knew that. Every time he came in, Cerny went right for her, and Chance had to pull him off and apologize, and then he would chastise the dog and try and get through to him, and every single interaction he had with the dog was pretty damn adorable. Cynthia would hate it—she’d say Jane was getting suckered by the dog, and she was probably right. Still, it wasn’t like he was doing it on purpose to win her over or anything. He was completely unaware of what others saw when he did it. Him and the dog, they had their own little world, and it didn’t matter what anyone else thought.
“You know, your family might not like him, but sometimes it’s worth it. What if he’s the love of your life and everyone says he’s wrong for you? You really want to settle for something less than that?”
Jane shook her head. “That doesn’t change the fact that I’m not ready for a relationship. It should be kind of even going into things. I don’t have a job or anything. I’d be dependent on him, and I’d hate it. I’m not that desperate. I’m not saying I have to be rich, but I should have a job before I date. That’s just… common sense.”
“That’s feminism, actually. Not that ago, we didn’t have jobs when we got married. That was all we strove for, finding a good husband.”
“You own your own business.”
“Yes, and I’m glad I do. I’m just saying… Sometimes progress takes away, too. So many women today never make time for love because there’s a career in the way. They have to worry about money. They have to make it in a man’s world. It’s become shameful to want nothing more than a happy family, and that is just as bad as when the men were in control of everything. Since when is wanting a husband and kids a crime? That’s what I want to know.”
Jane shrugged. “I have no idea. I don’t think it’s a crime. I think some women really do want that—and some men just want to get married and have kids, too. It’s not something that we should look down on, though people do. Family is important. They used to say being a father or a mother was the most important job you could have. They don’t say it anymore. It’s a joke now. I can’t hardly watch sitcoms anymore because all they do is mock marriage and parenthood and families. My parents are good people. They struggle like everyone else, and they only managed to have me and not a dozen kids, but I know they wanted more, and they did make sure I was loved, but when things got bad in the economy, people laughed at my mother for staying home all those years with me. She said she wouldn’t have traded them for the world, but I know it still hurt her, the way they treated her…”
“There will always be someone telling you that you’re living your life the wrong way. Remember that when he asks you out.”
“He’s not going to ask me out.”
I really like this exchange and glad I prompted you to share it! It is important. Love, love, love.
🙂 I love when she asks when it became a crime. That’s my favorite part. Some people just want a simple life; they don’t need to be “liberated.” My French teacher used to joke about Femme-Nazis forcing her to have to work out of the house (it was just a joke, she loved teaching and had a family, too) but I always enjoyed her word for feminists. It gained more meaning when I started to write because a lot of people seem to think that you can’t have a good story without a “strong” woman. I don’t think that’s true.
Granted, I do tend to write stories where the ladies are strong, but even strong people have their vulnerabilities. Strength isn’t always brute force or boldness. Sometimes it’s there in how the character supports others. We all fall without support, and it takes a lot more than people realize to take care of someone else.